(contributed by Thomas Rench)
Memories of 862
By Chuck Hines, from a letter to Thomas Rench:
Photo taken in the 21st TASS Boron FOL revetment at Phan Thiet,
1970. The rusty barrels contained sand and were designed to absorb
shrapnel from NVA mortars and rockets. My first experience with
enemy ordnance occurred while flying 862. Took an AK round through
the elevator trim assembly. Still have part of the severed chain
linkage somewhere in a drawer upstairs. The sound was identical
to a basketball hitting a
backboard and my brain wondered who the hell was out playing with
a basketball that morning. (Sounds of bullet impacts one hears during
movies are nonsense.) Next, experienced runaway full nose-up trim.
Pulled the circuit breaker. Made no difference. It required force
of both knees pushing forward on the yoke to maintain level flight.
Considered flying out over the ocean and leaving by parachute. Wore
a backpack. Finally decided to pickle off the remaining willie petes,
take it back to Phan Thiet, then land it. Phan Thiet's runway was
PSP . The runway began at the edge of a vertical cliff about 300
feet above the water. Flew the thing home with my knees, made an
uneventful landing, taxied to the revetment and shut down both engines.
The crew chief, SGT Salley, stuck his head in through the door and
asked if I had any write-ups. Told him the bird had runaway trim.
He disappeared and I continued filling out the 781 form. Less than
a minute later SGT Salley reappeared with a huge smile on his face.
"You don't have a runaway trim -- you got a bullet through
the elevator and trim tab!" First clue I had as to causality.